Bradford welcomes hundreds to Small Boats Regatta

Hundreds of competitors and spectators from rowing clubs across the north of England descended on this year’s Bradford Sprint Regatta organised by Bradford Amateur Rowing Club (BARC) at Hirst Weir, Shipley.

The 600-metre course, down a gently curving River Aire, is a popular splash-and-dash sprint regatta which attracted crews from Merseyside, Tees, York, Ancholme, Sheffield and Doncaster. 

The diminutive nature of this picturesque stretch of slack water above Hirst Weir means that West Yorkshire’s only regatta attracts a lot of pot hunters and novice crews seeking to notch up their first points. And this year was no exception with 142 crews competing in over 40 events throughout the day – all in small boats.

The most heavily contested race was the Junior 15A double sculls with crews from across the region turning up to show their worth. In the event the final was decided between Curtis Iles and Rhys Mould from Bradford and the York City duo of Charles Proctor and Alex Howe who snatched victory at a tight finish. 

Afterwards Charles said: “That was a hard, close, race and we were chased right to the end with Bradford coming back at us. I think they might have caught something in the end which allowed us to get away.”

Another tight finish saw Doncaster take the tankards off Ancholme in the women’s IM3 coxed fours. 

In a grudge match between two Bradford crews in the master double sculls, it was Smith and Hoskins who triumphed over Dunhill and Hobbs – a victory made all the sweeter after losing to their club mates at Tees Regatta in May.

Mersey, who travelled the furthest to compete at Bradford, fielded a scratch crew in the men’s IM2 coxed four, beating the hosts by two lengths to pick up a pot. However, initially, the Liverpool crew didn’t have any competition but luckily Bradford managed to raise a scratch four to give the visitors a race.

Regatta Secretary Celia Hickson said: “Bradford Sprint Regatta is always a popular, cheerful event in the northern rowing calendar, attracting crews from both the east and west coasts. Today we had a contingent from the River Tees and the River Mersey. The event always delivers some tight competitive rowing.

“This is my first year as Regatta Secretary and I am delighted at how well it has gone – the weather has held and the feedback from crews has been very positive. There has been a lot of junior competition but it’s also been good to see so many mature mixed crews during the day.”

Full results can be found at

By Ian Green